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I love this place!

Mulu Travel Blog

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Bamboo stick dance - I'm pretty good!

Gunung Mulu National Park is AMAZING!!!  It’s a tropical rainforest in all its glory. 

I checked into the Royal Mulu Resort after booking my adventures with the park head quarters (who are very organized I might add).  First night I nibbled at some food at the resort restaurant, met two lovely people from Austria who let me join then for dinner, and I enjoyed a great show of local tribal dances.  I even joined in for a bamboo stick dance and I tried the blow pipe, I totally hit a target with it too.  Saweet! 

You’d think with all of this effort I must be feeling better, but I hate to say I’m not.

Start of the adventure caving!
  What’s that song when the drugs don’t work, they just make things worse.  Oh nothing seems to be working for me, not even the super antibiotics the doctor gave me.  I drag myself to breakfast, force feed myself toast and head to the park.

First day I did some adventure caving.  Little did I know but apparently I was put into the advanced adventure caving group.  HA!  No wonder I thought it was hard!  Let’s paint the picture shall we….I check in, meet my guide and fellow cavers (3 others).  We walk along a boardwalk through the jungle for about 1 km when the guide stops us.  There are no stairs on either side suggesting a new path, no caves in sight.

OMG
  The guide says o.k. put on your helmets.  I say did you say put on your helmets?  And he says yes.  Then he points up, WAY up to the side of the hill into the jungle, where no cave is in sight.  Apparently now I’m a billy goat.  So there we are climbing straight up through trees, rocks and wet slippery jungle floor, to the mouth of the cave. 

Caving was awesome!  Dark, moist, and HUMID.  We climbed in and through tight crevices and wide caverns.  It was so hot!  Sweat was literally pouring down our faces.

We did it!
  At times we got to use ropes to cross caverns or climb up/down walls.  I was not well.  Definitely weak.  I wanted to stop so many times.  I took breaks when I could without slowing down the team.  At the end of the cave everyone was left to explore it on their own. I sat down and rested the entire time and just looked around with my head lamp.  Good decision.  The cave was beautiful.  Bats and swiftlets flew around us everywhere.  We saw a giant cave centipede, oh and apparently they’re poisonous!  Lovely.

Oh on the way down the giant hillside to the boardwalk my leg goes through a piece of the forest floor.

Cave of the Winds
  From the knee down I’m stuck under a tree.  It took a bit to get out and now I have a huge scrape on my leg.  Nice.  Excellent bruise coming my way for sure.  Fack I’m exhausted.

"Ate" at the park cafe that day.  I am seriously struggling.  Sipping some soup is all I can handle.  I drink a coke just for the calories.  I meet some great people and get some great advice on travelling in Indonesia.

Took a night walk - found lots of cool bugs, lizards, tree rats (!), spiders and grasshoppers.  Stick bugs are my favourite. 

Sick all night again.  Awesome.  Can I just have a good night's sleep please?

The second day at the park was amazing.

Cave of the Winds
  Walked what they call the four show caves Cave of the Winds was first.  It had a HUGE cavern at th end with gorgeous stalagtites and stalagmites.  I could have taken a million photos if only they'd turn out!  Next was Clearwater Cave.  It has a gorgeous underwater river flowing through it.  Water is everywhere it seems, dripping from the ceiling, flowing through its base.  I took a walk to the end of the cave path and sat by the river along to absorb how amazing this place was.  I am so lucky to be here.

Sipped a little lunch again.  Please let me get better soon.

The afternoon I went to Deer Cave.  Was late for my tour because I feel asleep at my hotel.  Oops!  My Royal Mulu taxi friend drove like a maniac to get me to the park on time.  Then I had to book it down the boardwalk to catch up with my group - GAH this place is too hot for running!!!  Deer Cave is UNBELIEVABLE.

Cave of the Winds - looking out the mouth
  I'm speechless at the site of it.  I've wanted to come here ever since I saw the Planet Earth episode on caves.  Talk about surreal.  I've only seen this in pictures or on video.  To be here in rea life, seeing it with my own eyes.  Wow, its hard to describe what the means to me.  The leaps of excitment and awe in my body leave my silent.  I walk in complete amazement into the GIANT mouth of this cave, absorbing everything.  I sign to myself this is where I long to be, I'm living my best life.

Deer Cave is the second largest cave in the world.  It was beat out only last month by a new cave found in Vietnam.  Dang!  It is estimated that between 2-3 million bats live in this cave!  You can see them on the ceiling and they fly all around you.  There is bat crap everywhere oh and thousands of cockroaches living on it, yum!  A boardwalk takes us easily through the cave.  There is a platform at the end of the cave where you can see down to the same river that flows through Clearwater Cave.

Entrance to Clearwater Cave
  There is a stunning green valley at one end.  Large lush tree grow there.  Water  drips from the valley opening into the cave.  Awesome. 

The final cave - oh crap I can't remembers its name, but it was great!  It had loads of stalagtites and mites.  The park has strategically installed motion censored lights that come on as you walk through the cave, highlighting the beautiful rock formations. Its a beautiful site.

We leave the cae and go to await the bat exodus from Deer Cave - they leave through the cave mouth to feed at dusk each night, well that is unless its raining.  We wait for them in a cover pavillion.  There is a camera in the cave to see if they're leaving, a tv in the pavillion shows us what the camera sees.  Honestly these bats are SO cute!  The camera zooms in and out to get a closer look at them.  They are not going anywhere.  Its raining.

Entering Deer Cave - WOW!!!
  Those bats are just yawning, grooming, sleeping and stretching. 

The rain in hammering down.  No one is waiting for the bats, we're waiting for the rain to stop!  It doesn't.  We take a run for it.  I put on my raincoat and start the 3.8 km walk home in the downpour of all downpours.  HOLY SHIT this is a rain storm like no other!  My raincoat is now my favourite piece of clothing.  I'm writting a letter to MEC when I get home thanking them for saving my hide.

 

sarahelaine says:
That looks incredible. :) we're planning a trip there next month- so excited!
Posted on: Jan 08, 2012
festerwretch says:
Congrats on the feature!
Posted on: Nov 24, 2009
iramalama says:
Very thrilling...and to think you were caving in Borneo while sick! Hope you ended up feeling better shortly thereafter.
Posted on: Nov 24, 2009
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Bamboo stick dance - Im pretty go…
Bamboo stick dance - I'm pretty g…
Start of the adventure caving!
Start of the adventure caving!
OMG
OMG
We did it!
We did it!
Cave of the Winds
Cave of the Winds
Cave of the Winds
Cave of the Winds
Cave of the Winds - looking out th…
Cave of the Winds - looking out t…
Entrance to Clearwater Cave
Entrance to Clearwater Cave
Entering Deer Cave - WOW!!!
Entering Deer Cave - WOW!!!
Inside Deer Cave
Inside Deer Cave
Looking back towards the mouth of …
Looking back towards the mouth of…
Looking out to the mouth of Deer C…
Looking out to the mouth of Deer …
The cave I cant remember the name…
The cave I can't remember the nam…
Waiting for those bats!!
Waiting for those bats!!
Setting up the ropes to cross a ca…
Setting up the ropes to cross a c…
Mulu
photo by: jose28